Speed up your Mac with a solid state drive (SSD)

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Everyone wants a faster Mac. The best way to do it is to replace the spinning hard drive with a solid state drive (SSD). This makes a huge difference– much more than adding RAM, much more than reinstalling the OS. There’s a reason Apple puts SSDs in almost every new MacBook Pro, and in every MacBook Air they sell. The drives I use are from Crucial– see below.

Crucial BX100

Prices on SSDs have fallen quite a bit, making them a very attractive upgrade. A one-terabyte SSD that cost me almost $400 in 2015 is now about $140. Personally, I like the Crucial products– Crucial’s a big player in memory products and their stuff works great in Macs.

You have to figure out how to get your data from the old drive to the new one, and you have to open up your Mac to swap in the new drive. There are YouTube.com videos that will tell you how to do it. My advice: leave opening an iMac to the pros, but go ahead if you have an Apple laptop.

There are many ways to get your data from your old drive to the new one, including using Apple’s Disk Utility, Carbon Copy Cloner, and SuperDuper. I use Carbon Copy Cloner, with the new drive connected to the Mac with a cable, as if it’s (temporarily) an external drive You’ll need a cable to connect the bare drive to your Mac— I got mine at Amazon.

It comes down to this: buy a solid state drive, connect it with a cable, use Carbon Copy Cloner to copy everything to the new drive, then open up the Mac and replace the old drive with the new one.

Advice: it’s a good idea to test that your Mac will start from the new drive before you go through the trouble of opening up your machine. Do this by holding the Option key while restarting, then choosing the new drive. The Mac will start from the new drive even though it’s not inside yet.

More advice: if you’re using Microsoft Office 2011 you’ll have a very rough time activating it again. If you still have the installer DVD and license code you can try reinstalling and re-licensing. If you don’t, you’ll find you can open, but not edit, your Word and Excel documents. You may find the answer in my article about re-registering Microsoft Office 2011 but it might turn out to be easier to spend $100/year to have the new Office package (Office 365). You were going to have to upgrade someday anyway.

Even more advice: if you use Dropbox you’re going to have to sign in again. Signing in requires a user name (an email address) and a password. Make sure you have that info in advance. It makes things easier for you.

An SSD will make your MacBook Pro faster than it ever was. If you have questions, contact me. I’ll help.

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